Library filed under Taxes & Subsidies from Wyoming
The Converse County Commission filed an application with the Wyoming State Board of Equalization requesting the board allow Converse County to intervene in Duke Energy's appeal of 2012 taxes due on its wind farm.
Mead has expressed concern that the higher taxes might make wind energy companies look outside Wyoming. Nonetheless, the Legislature's Joint Revenue Interim Committee last fall rejected the governor's proposal to continue the tax exemption for wind energy projects while imposing a lower 2 percent impact fee on wind projects to support county governments.
The Legislature's Joint Revenue Interim Committee in October shot down Mead's proposal to continue the tax exemption for wind energy projects while imposing a 2 percent impact fee on wind projects to support county governments. Despite that setback, Mead said he's not giving up on addressing the wind taxation issue.
Sen. Cale Case, R-Lander, a member of the Senate Revenue Committee, said Tuesday he doesn't believe the wind industry is taxed enough. He said the 2-percent impact fee that Mead and others had supported, "really unacceptably lowered taxes on the industry, and I don't think that was appropriate."
Unless county commissions take a hard line on taxing wind energy production, local governments will lose the ability to recover the impacts of this growing industry, Natrona County commissioners said Tuesday.
State Rep. Mike Madden, R-Buffalo, said he was worried about the state fronting money to an industry that has yet to prove itself viable and is reliant on federal subsidies. "We've never gotten involved in an industry where we shared the risk," Madden said. "We're saying to wind companies, ‘We're going to put money into this impact fund, and we're betting on you being around 20 to 25 years to pay us back.' But what if we're wrong?"
Terry Weickum, chairman of the Carbon County Commission, spoke against the bill. "You must recognize that these huge wind farms are going to change the landscape of Wyoming forever," Weickum said. He said the U.S. Bureau of Land Management reports that companies are working on scoping for 54 wind farms in his county currently.
Companies that erect huge and sometimes disruptive wind turbines, Freudenthal believes, should pay for the right to do so. Lawmakers agreed, approving a tax of $1 per megawatt hour of wind energy production, initially estimated to generate $4 million a year to be divided between the counties and the state.
Completion of Top of the World and Dunlap I could mark a turning point for Wyoming's fledgling wind energy industry. Both Duke Energy and Rocky Mountain Power say they have no further plans to plant wind turbines in Wyoming. ...Picard said the tone of the current policy discussion on wind energy in Wyoming seems to be very anti-wind.
"They've said it to the legislative committees. They've said it to the Industrial Siting Council. And then suddenly when the first time comes to pay, here come the blue suits, the lawyers, and say, ‘Oops; never mind. All of that stuff we have been saying, we didn't mean it.'"
Duke Energy's dispute with tax assessments over its wind farms in Laramie and Converse counties could impact nearly $15 million worth of property assessments in Laramie County alone. ...Gov. Dave Freudenthal is appalled by the tax dispute. The company boasted how much it would contribute in property taxes.
Converse County's experience with Duke Energy and property taxes the company owes should serve as a cautionary tale for all Wyoming counties counting on wind energy development to improve their economy. It should also spur state lawmakers to re-examine tax exemptions they've approved to help bring more wind farms to Wyoming.
During a recent hearing of the Legislature's Joint Revenue Interim Committee, co-chairman John Schiffer, R-Kaycee, said he believes Duke may have knowingly supplied false information under oath in its past testimony to the Industrial Siting Council. "Now it appears the people who testified for Duke Energy were not straightforward with their testimony, and I object to that," Schiffer said in a phone interview.
Wyoming taxes on the wind energy industry would be the highest among Rocky Mountain states if all of Wyoming's pending taxes take effect, according to a new analysis by an industry group.
Unlike recent power plant construction projects in Campbell County, the wind farm being built 35 miles south of Gillette isn't expected to create much impact assistance money for local governments. The Wyoming Industrial Siting Council has said the only communities that will be affected are the town of Wright, Campbell County and the City of Gillette.
Now, visualize row upon row of wind turbines on some of our most precious vistas and landscapes -- the Chugwater Bluffs, the Laramie Range, Elk Mountain, and the Upper North Platte River Valley. This is not the Wyoming we want. If we are not careful, this is the Wyoming we may get. The governor and Legislature have demonstrated good leadership on this issue. This needs to continue.
Proposed rules for commercial wind-energy production on state trust lands have met with a minimum of concern in a series of hearings across the state. The Office of State Lands and Investments held a hearing in Cheyenne on Thursday on draft rules that will eventually be presented to the Board of Land Commissioners.
With currents of powerful wind gusts whipping across its plains and plateaus, Wyoming has become a new frontier for the wind industry - the latest energy development for a state that only recently experienced a natural gas boom.
Wyoming House of Representatives gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a bill that would impose the nation's first state excise tax on wind energy generation. ...Supporters said Wyoming should levy a wind generation tax to provide revenue for state and county governments and to provide regulatory certainty for the burgeoning wind industry.
The Joint Revenue Committee voted Monday morning to cut the proposed excise tax on wind energy from $3 per megawatt hour to $1 per megawatt hour. Committee members also voted not to collect any taxes until 2012 -- rather than 2011 as initially suggested -- and to not impose any excise taxes on a wind turbine until its third year of operation.